Thirty years ago I stepped onto a snowboard for the first time, let gravity take me until I was too scared and willfully crashed. It was not a “white moment,” it did not change my life but it was fun so I grabbed my board and walked back up the hill to do it again. Like any nine year-old I hated hiking but for some reason I kept walking back up the hill. Although riding powder came easy, making turns on hard pack seemed impossible. There were no movies, no one to watch and the occasional photo in Thrasher mag showed snowboarders in the air or in powder.
My first white moment came three years and hundreds of crashes later. The light was fading, I hiked up higher then I had all day, gravity did its thing but instead of crashing I put my snowboard on edge and made my first real toe turn of my life followed by my first real heel turn. It was like someone from above waved a magic wand and let me through the portal and into a magical world of surfing mountains. The mountains went from 2D to 3D, I became consumed by snowboarding. Skiing went away, hockey went, football went away and I knew that one way or another I was going to set my life up around snowboarding. At the time there were no pro riders, no industry, no way to make a living unless your name was Jake, Tom, Terry or Craig.
Fast-forward to today and the magic is still there. I check the weather every morning when I wake up and every night when I go to bed. I leave the outside light on so I can see it snow from bed and still do not need to set an alarm to wake up early on a powder day. I still hike the resort before it’s open and after it’s closed. My legs are stronger, I can hike further and ride longer but gone are the days of power stomping flat landings or pointing mogul fields.
I have never been one to look back, which is why I think I missed my thirty year snowboarding anniversary, I think it was last year, but it has given me pause and I allow myself a moment to reflect on the last thirty odd years. Did I know what I was getting into, did I envision this lifestyle, did I think my snowboard would take me this far? It is not a cut and dry answer but mainly it is yes. Not the awards, movies, snowboard company, or magazine covers but living a life set up around snowboarding every day at the best mountains in the world. That was always the plan and I do not see the plan changing anytime soon.
When and how did you start doing your sport? When I was 9.
When did you decide to become a pro? At 14 I knew I was going to set up my life around being able to snowboard every day. Pro snowboarding was my first choice to achieve this goal.
How did you become a part of O’Neill? I was living in NorCal and really into surfing. When I learnt O’Neill was getting into outerwear I immediately reached out. They have an amazing history and I was already a long time O’Neill wetsuit customer.
What makes you unreasonable? I let nothing get in the way being in the best spots on the best days. It is pretty much what my life is set up around. When it good, nothing else matters.
What has been a highlight in your career? The mountain ranges I have been able to explore and the mountains I have snowboarded down is what I am most proud of.
What are your plans for the future? Ride, explore, evolve. respect and protect our amazing mountain ranges.
Name 10 things you never travel without? A book, journal, money, ID, phone, water bottle, and headphones.
What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning? Life! So much to do, so little time.
If we visited you at breakfast, what would you be eating? Toast with Peanut Butter and blueberries.
If you weren’t snowboarding, what would you do? I am always playing in the mountains. My tool to experience the mountains changes with the seasons. Mountain Biking, rock climbing and backpacking in the spring, summer and fall. And snowboarding in the winter.
Any other sports you’re good at? Surfing, Rock Climbing, and Mountain Biking are all sports that I have done my whole life.
What music are you listening to? Bb Dylan, Bob Marley, Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam.
What has been the scariest moment in your sport career? Watching my brother get buried by an avalanche and having to dig him out.
What was your most embarrassing moment in your career/life? Anytime I crashed in a contest or under a chairlift.
How does your training routine look like? 90% of my fitness I get playing in the mountains and water. The other 10% I am focused on agility, core strength, and flexibility.
Describe your perfect day. It would involve being in the ocean or on the side of a mountain when the sun comes up. Surfing or snowboarding most of the day. And a sunset BBQ with friends and family at a campground at the beach or in the mountains.